“And I shall call him Squishy, and he shall be mine, and he shall be my Squishy.” - Dory
Well, jellyfish, scary-toothed vampire fish, same idea, right?
“Nemophidae” are a riband-form fish that were once thought to be related to eels (especially moray eels), because of their mouth structure and length. We now know that they’re a type of blenny fish. The saber-toothed blennies are an informal grouping that fall under five genera: Aspidontus, Meiacanthus, Petroscirtes, Xiphasia, and Plagiotremus.
Aspidontus and Plagiotremus are mean little bastards. Aspidontus taeniatus is known as the “False Cleaner” - it mimics the color, markings, and even the behavior of the Cleaner Wrasse (Labroides dimidiatus). It does the little “come here to get cleaned” wrasse dance, but instead of cleaning the lured in fish…it just bites a chunk out of their underside and eat their flesh and blood instead!
Biting a big chunk out of a fish is much less effort than meticulously picking off tiny parasites for food. Fish that get fooled by these guys sometimes attack legitimate wrasses they see in the future, and are much more cautious around anything looking like the cleaner wrasses…even though they want to get cleaned, the prior trickery makes them hesitant to approach the cleaning stations the wrasses set up.
Learned enough about fish behaviour yet?
Proceeding of the Scientific Meetings of the Zoological Society of London. 1858.
**Bluestreak Cleaner Wrasse and Cleaner Mimic Blenny were both playable fish in the 1995 educational computer game “Odell Down Under”.